Who Deserves Love?

Who Deserves Love? October 30, 2019

 

A few days ago my wife and I watched a little film on Netflix called “A Silent Voice” at the insistence of our youngest son.

The recommendation was well-deserved and in fact it inspired me to ask a few profound questions afterwards.

The story follows a group of Junior High Students who all struggle for identity and meaning in their lives. They each deal with their doubts about self-worth and respond in different ways. Some sacrifice their identity to be accepted by the crowd. Others lash out by bullying other students. Some scapegoat a few others to make themselves feel better, or blame them for their failures to overcome their own internal weaknesses.

At the end of the film, my wife and I were both in tears. But the story line made me realize something that speaks to the core of who we are as human beings and how God responds to us.

I kept asking myself, “Who deserves love?” and “Who deserves forgiveness?” after watching the film – which mostly follows the bully character’s path of redemption and reconciliation with the girl he focused his anger on.

As I asked those questions – “Who deserves love?” and “Who deserves forgiveness” – I realized that the answer we’re given by Jesus is simply this: “Everyone.”

Yes. Everyone deserves love.

How do I know this? Because Jesus tells us that “God so loved the world.” And the disciples and Apostles of Jesus affirmed that “God is love” and “Nothing shall separate us from God’s love” and that “God’s love is higher and wider and longer and deeper than we can imagine” and that “God’s love transcends knowledge” and that God’s love is “patient, and kind and keeps no record of wrongs,” etc.

So, who deserves love?

Everyone does.

And who deserves forgiveness? Everyone does.

How do I know this? Because it’s what Jesus does whenever he encounters anyone. He forgives them. Most often before they ever repent or ask for forgiveness. Jesus simply forgives and lets them know: “Your sins are forgiven.”

The ultimate expression of this wide open forgiveness is when Jesus forgives the Roman soldiers, and the Jewish rulers, who are putting him to death on the cross by praying: “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”

Did those soldiers have to accept this forgiveness to be forgiven?

No. They didn’t.

Did those Pharisees and Sadducees need to repent or ask forgiveness to be forgiven by Jesus?

No. They did not.

So, who deserves forgiveness?

Everyone does.

And, like it or not, we are all loved and we are all forgiven by God.

Because on the cross, “God was, in Christ, not counting our sins against us, but reconciling the world to Himself.” [2 Cor. 5:19]

And there it is. Total love and total forgiveness for everyone.

This reminds me of a worship song I love, except for this one line that always bugs me which says: “I couldn’t earn it, I don’t deserve it, still you give yourself away.”

Rather than always dwell on whether or not we deserve God’s love, I wish we’d make a subtle shift that says: “I don’t need to earn it, I don’t have to deserve it…”

Because no parent would ever suggest that their children do not deserve their love. But they would affirm that there is no need to deserve, or earn, our love. Because we just love them. Earning and deserving have nothing at all to do with it.

So, who receives love?

We all do.

Who receives forgiveness?

We all do.

This is who God is. This is who Jesus is.

And this is who we are: Loved and Forgiven.

Halleluiah!

**

Keith’s next book, “Jesus Undefeated: Condemning the False Doctrine of Eternal Torment” releases Nov. 9, 2019 on Amazon and features a Foreword by author Brad Jersak.

Are you an aspiring author? Keith is leading an Author’s Academy starting Nov. 4. Learn how to become a full-time author and crack the code for building your platform and marketing your books online. Details HERE.
Keith Giles was formerly a licensed and ordained minister who walked away from organized church 11 years ago, to start a home fellowship that gave away 100% of the offering to the poor in the community. Today, He and his wife have returned to El Paso, TX after 25 years, as part of their next adventure.
 Keith’s Podcast: Heretic Happy Hour Podcast is on iTunes and Podbean. 

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Nimblewill

    I actually read the other day that if grace is freely given to everyone then it means nothing.

  • Vucodlak

    A Silent Voice is in my to watch pile, but I haven’t watch it yet. I’m hoping to finish the manga it’s based on first; I’ve read the first three volumes, and they’re excellent, but I’ve got four more left to track down.

    I see and answer the question of “who deserves love?” a bit differently, because I approach the idea of deserving differently. Who deserves love? Doesn’t matter. Who deserves to eat? Doesn’t matter.

    It doesn’t matter because if you ask ten different people those questions you’ll get ten different answers. “Who is deserving?” is a distraction from the facts of the matter: we all need love, and we all need to eat. If you’ve got love or food that you can spare, give it to those who don’t have enough.

    You can’t earn love. Love can be given to you, or you can learn to give it to yourself, but to say you earned it? It means nothing. It doesn’t matter how hard you work, or how much you change- if someone doesn’t want to give you love, they won’t give it to you. It’s that simple, and everything else is an excuse.

    “Deserving” and “earning” are just pretty lies we tell ourselves to so that we don’t have to face the wrong we do out of pain or anger or fear.

  • Nimblewill

    So, how does God choose to love us?

  • Herm

    “Grace” is “unmerited” favor. Mankind, compared to God, is incapable of earning anything from God. There is nothing mankind has to trade that God does not already have in abundance. Mankind, as are all infants relative to their supporting adults, is dependent upon God to survive what they do not know and cannot see. The parental love of a newborn in their image, in their likeness, is freely given, and means everything to the survival of the child.

  • Herm

    Matthew 5:43-48 (NIV2011)
    43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

    John 14:15-21 (NIV2011)
    15 “If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21 Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”

  • Herm

    I agree with Vucodlak, no one deserves love. The law of all supporting all life, carnal and spirit, is summed up by, in everything do to others as you would have others do to you. God shows their love by sharing with Man, in their image, in their likeness, in spirit.

    The temporal species mankind must propagate and nurture their young to continue to exist. All infants of mankind are dependent upon the unmerited love of their supporting adults to survive, that mankind will survive.

    I would have all others love me first so I have matured to love all others first. I have picked up my cross for others, even for others who do not deserve my love. By Jesus example, he taught me the value of the law he lived by. I certainly didn’t deserve his love, or his Father’s love, but through many generations of mankind loving one another, many undeserving, here I am.

  • J & S VanHemert

    Amen! Thank you for this reminder and distinction between ‘don’t deserve it’ and ‘I don’t need to deserve it’. And, yes, we are all loved and all forgiven. Period. No ands, buts, and ifs. Why, O Why, is it so hard for most Christians and preachers to simply stop there?

  • What total nonsense. Where did you read that?

  • Nimblewill

    I will try to find it. I agree that it is total nonsense.